How many times have you said “if only there were more hours in the day?”  And how many times have you vividly imagined all you might accomplish with those precious few extra hours?  It recently dawned on me that the summer season gives us this gift of time.  By its very virtue, summer provides extra hours of daylight – a few hours in the morning to get a jumpstart on the day and a few more in the evening to relax and unwind.

As one who is constantly juggling work, kids, fitness, writing, an outrageous to-do list and a strong desire to connect with my husband on matters more substantive than potty training and dog walking, these extra hours which summer so effortlessly bestows are a true gift and one that I’m utilizing to its fullest extent. 

With sunrise at 5:30 and birds chirping long before, I’m all too happy to get out of bed at 5:45.  Mind you, this is the same time I set the alarm the rest of the year but these days, I’m far less likely to hit snooze.  I’m eager to get up and get the day started.  The early light allows me to squeeze a lot in before the tots get up at 7:30ish.  Of course, there are all the daily requirements – the dishwasher, the dog, making lunches and getting in my morning run a few days a week.  But these things are part of the LyonsDen routine in any season.  The additional benefits I reap from the early sunrise include reading the paper on the front porch or, in the case of an early riser, reading Dr. Suess on the porch while the dew is fresh and the air is clean and clear.  Should I choose to leave the comfort of the porch, I might run for a few more miles, water the plants, clip a few flowers to brighten the kitchen or possibly settle in the yard with my laptop and work on my writing… it’s so easy to be inspired with a large cup of coffee and the soft sunlight glistening through the trees.  I am so grateful for these moments and will miss them when the days grow shorter.

As the sun shifts from East to West, it has a soothing effect on our typical end of day chaos.  The fact that school is out also lessens the pressure; we’re not hustling to get homework done and the clan in bed by 8:00.  Even so, dinner still needs to be served and the bedtime routine still reigns supreme.  What’s different then?  It’s the attitude, I think.  It’s more laid back.  We’re not literally racing against darkness when we use the grill.  We make plans to make the most of the evening time we have together. We squeeze in a post-work trip to the pool, possibly with friends.  We relax our standards a bit.  Dinner just might be grilled chicken with peaches and watermelon served on a beach towel.  Popsicles might melt on the same porch where we started our day as fireflies float by… actually, I think they now bolt by for fear of being caught by one of our little Lyons Cubs; gentle though they try to be, they’ve squeezed the lights out of more of our flying friends than I care to admit.  But I digress. 

Perhaps best of all, summer’s extra daylight hours give my husband and I something we truly cherish – more time with our kids and each other.  Des and I rarely have a quiet moment but find that summertime affords ample opportunities for a shared cup of coffee or glass of wine on the porch (Again! That porch! How we love that porch!) We actually get the chance to talk about more than the kids and to-do lists.   We also relish the morning Suess time and evening swims with the kids.  The “family fun time” in the midst of our manic weeks is a rare pleasure.  We know this time is precious.  And, like summer itself, is fleeting. Thank you Summer, for answering my wish for more hours in the day.  Now Old Man Winter, if you're listening, could you please lighten up a bit?  And yes, I do mean that literally!